Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday told parliament that Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee’s reputation as an Islamic preacher would exist no more following the Supreme Court’s final verdict.
Speaking at the end of the third session, the Leader of the House said Sayedee’s capital punishment, instead of imprisonment until death, would have made people happier.
She also said the constitution amendment act would protect the judiciary more, trashing the allegations that the government had made the judiciary accountable to the legislature for political reasons.
In her around 45-minute speech, the premier for the first time blamed the main opposition Jatiya Party.
Opposition Leader Rawshan Ershad had to endure some criticisms made against her husband, JaPa chief HM Ershad’s rule.
“Yesterday [Wednesday], a judgement was pronounced. What happened was not desirable to anyone. People would have been happy if [the Appellate Division] upheld the death sentence [of Sayedee],” Hasina said, mentioning that a free and independent judiciary, not her government, had given the verdict.
“We have nothing to say,” she said.
“Sayedee was known as a religious preacher. But this verdict will portray him as a violator of women, a killer, a looter and a war criminal.”
People now know what a “heinous” person Sayedee was during the war, she said.
The Awami League chief also slammed Jamaat for calling a shutdown to protest the verdict.
“Is Jamaat unhappy? Possibly they would be happy if the capital punishment order was upheld. What is the justification of calling hartals? Why will people support a hartal if it is called in favour of a war criminal?”
The premier said it was a hartal against the judgement of the judiciary. “The judiciary will look into it.”
Hasina thanked JaPa for its support in passing the constitution amendment bill. She said the previous three-member Supreme Judicial Council headed by the chief justice could not protect the judiciary.
“The fate of the judges lay on three persons. But now, it has to be made with a two-thirds majority in legislature,” she said adding that the amendment would “protect the sanctity and dignity” of the judges and the judiciary.
Before her speech, the opposition raised widespread food adulteration, water logging in Dhaka, bad roads across the country, poor conditions in jails and other public interest issues.
“You have to address the use of chemicals and formalin in food at any cost. This problem cannot be stopped overnight. It has been on for three decades,” said Rawshan in her closing speech.
The opposition leader said Dhaka gets waterlogged during the monsoon and the problem must be solved. The frequent power outages in posh areas like Gulshan-Baridhara make people frustrated.
“Electricity disruptions do not occur at the prime minister’s residence; so she will not understand the problem.”
Suggesting the prime minister to witness the country’s problems, Rawshan said the people around Hasina do not give her the right information. The JaPa leader said she had led a miserable life inside a condemned cell at the Dhaka Central Jail without food and clothing. Many innocent women languish in the jails.
Hasina said: “You made the mistake [water logging]. You built box culverts killing the canals [that worked as outlets]. The box culverts have aggravated water logging. Jatiya Party was in power at that time.” She said the military in 1983-84 during HM Ershad’s rule had whisked her and two other women leaders and kept them confined blindfolded, providing inedible food and bedding.
Hasina said food adulteration had also taken place during the Ershad’s rule.
Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury read President Abdul Hamid’s winding up message as Hasina finished talking.
Five bills were passed in the 14 sittings of the third session that began on September 1.